Welcome to the 8th day of the reading plan! The eighth day is an exciting day, used throughout history as the timely day of consecration, and in the Bible as a special day of sanctification. Eight is a holy number in the Bible, symbolizing a new beginning,
"On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised" (Leviticus 12:3).
"On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived" (Luke 2:21).
"On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron, his sons, and the elders of Israel" (Leviticus 9:1), and thus the inauguration of the priestly ministry of Aaron took place.
Paul was likewise "circumcised on the eighth day" (Philippians 3:5).
Abraham had eight sons in all (Genesis 25:1-2).
Today, we finished reading First Samuel, and then read all of Second Samuel.
1 Samuel 23-31
Yesterday, our reading showed us the conflicted relationship between Saul and David; Saul was jealous of David, because God was with David. Earlier in their relationship, David played a vital role in Saul being rid of "harmful spirits" (1 Samuel 16:14, 16, 23, 18:10). However, Saul then conspired to kill David.
Throughout several chapters, David is found going from place to place to evade Saul. Below is a helpful map that I found online. The geographical summary is as follows.
1. "Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him." (1 Sam 19:18)
2. David went to stay with Samuel in Naioth, then traveled back to Ramah, where Jonathan tells him to flee once again. At this, David fled "to Nob to Ahimelech the priest (1 Samuel 21:1). Ahimelech gave David the sword of Goliath, whom David killed in the Valley of Elah in 1 Samuel 17.
3. David must continue to flee, and goes to Gath (1 Samuel 21:10). When he arrives to the court of Achish the king, he enters under the guise of a mad-man, because some of the servants recognized him as king.
4. He left Gath and came to a cave in Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1).
5. From there, he traveled Southeast to Mizpah to ask the king of Moab for a refuge place for his parents. (1 Samuel 22:3)
6. David goes into the forest of Hereth. (1 Samuel 22:5)
7. He travels back Northwest to Keilah to fight the Philistines. David first inquires of the Lord, and the Lord promises victory. In the midst of a drawn out evasion, David managed to save the inhabitants of Keilah. (1 Samuel 23:1-5)
8. Saul heard of David's success in Keilah and sends men to capture David. David and his 600 men left Keilah and wandered into the wilderness of Ziph to flee from Saul. (1 Samuel 23:14)
9. The people in the wilderness of Ziph told Saul that David was hiding there, and so David fled to the wilderness of Maon. Once again, Saul followed. (1 Samuel 23:25)
10. This led David into the wilderness of Engedi. (1 Samuel 23:29) Here there is a confrontation between Saul (with his three thousand chosen men (1 Samuel 24:2)) and David. David chooses to spare Saul's life, though he could easily have killed Saul with the cover of stealth.
11. A similar encounter takes place, and David spares Saul's life a second time in the wilderness of Ziph. (1 Samuel 26)
12. David returned to Ziklag and asked Achish to stay there. David stayed there for a year and four months. (1 Samuel 27:7) Thus, David fought for the Philistines as a trusted servant for Achish, and eventually his personal body-guard (1 Samuel 28:2).
Throughout the rest of First Samuel, Saul continues to make decisions of desperate measure. He calls Samuel's spirit using divination. David's wives are captured in the raid of the Amalekites, then Saul dies.
Second Samuel is a book devoted to the reign of David as king. While David is the main character of the story, there are many characters that help to develop David's character as a man after God's heart. Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite's wife, is someone who David slept with and makes pregnant (only to lose the child as a newborn), and thus sinned against the Lord. Shortly thereafter, Bathsheba gave birth to Solomon, who would become the wisest king in all the East (1 Kings 4:30). Joab was a military commander for David. Nathan was a prophet, and a helpful guidance for David. Nathan rebuked David in chapter twelve. Absalom was the son bore to David through Maakah.
The book of Second Samuel shows us that people, even those that are after God's heart, can have tremendous success while still falling very short of God's glory. God uses people to advance his kingdom, and people are imperfect, desperately needing his guidance.
In the beginning of the book, David becomes the king of Judah, but the rest of Israel in the north chooses not to follow God. The commander of Saul's army makes Ish-Bosheth king over all of Israel (2 Samuel 2:9-10), but Ish-Bosheth was later murdered (2 Samuel 4:7) by Rechab and Baanah of Rimmon. As a result, the people of Israel ask David to be king (2 Samuel 5:2). Thus, David was then king over Judah and all of Israel.
David brings the ark to Jerusalem, but not without tragedy. Uzzah reached out his hand to stop the ark from crashing against the ground, and he is struck down and killed for touching it. David laments, and inquires of God how the ark should be under his (David's) responsibility. Because of the death of Uzzah, the ark remained in Obed-edom's house for three months. Then David brought the ark to the city of David, rejoicing. (2 Samuel 6)
In the second half of the book, David's darker side is revealed. In chapter fifteen, he flees from Jerusalem. Can you imagine a life of such fear? As we saw in First Samuel, David fled for many months, and to countless places! Now, even after being king, he is forced to flee again. Absalom conspires to become king at Hebron, and David's men inform him quickly enough to escape. Later, David is told of the death of Absalom and grieves. Though he was fleeing from his son, he still loved him deeply:
"And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33)
Joab, David's commander, rebukes David for such grief, saying he was shaming the servants who worked tirelessly to preserve David's life.
"Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and your daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines, 6 because you love those who hate you and hate those who love you. For you have made it clear today that commanders and servants are nothing to you, for today I know that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased." (2 Samuel 19:5-6)
The story of David's life is one that covers a broad range of geography, royalty, sin, righteousness, and God's deliverance. David fought many battles with several nations, married many women, acted in ways that reflected his heart for God, and similarly acted in ways that reflected his own selfishness. There is a lot we can learn from the character of David, and I recommend studying his character throughout the Bible, and reading (and re-readng) the books devoted to his life.
If you're interested, a great book to read about David's many qualities is David: A Man of Passion & Destiny, By: Charles R. Swindoll. It can be purchased here.
As always, I wish I could spend time summarizing each and every chapter of the book, but there simply aren't enough hours in the day.